Sunday, December 11, 2005

Comedy... in the Muslim World? Laughable!


Title: Looking For Comedy in the Muslim World
Director: Albert Brooks

"Albert Brooks may very well be the funniest man alive. All the movies he has written and directed (except maybe “The Muse”) have been unqualified gems. The yuppie couple buying a motor home and dropping out of society in “Lost in America”. His unorthodox vision of the hereafter in “Defending Your Life”. His middle-aged guy moving back in with his mother in, uh, “Mother”. All classics. This is his first new film in 7 years, and like his debut feature “Real Life” has him playing himself as a comedian embarking on an important research study for the government to see what makes the Muslim people laugh. During his trip through India and Pakistan he manages to make a total jackass of himself and practically starts World War III. Just the title alone shows that this is not going to be a typical comedy... you know, typical, like Ben Stiller getting kicked in the balls or something. Early word from sneak peaks say the film is hilarious and possibly the most incendiary comedy since “Dr. Strangelove”. I only hope the Muslim people can take a joke and not get all Salmon Rushdie on poor Albert."

Watch the trailer.

I hope we can take the joke too! The trailer shows sufficient Western humour, but it is, after all, marketed for a Western audience. Considering our history with them, it's gratifying to see they can still make jokes about it; our deviant brothers haven't exactly been at their best behaviour with them, now have they.

There is something about the apparent stringency of our tradition that diffuses into our psyches and pushes us to strive toward an immunity to humour, even if this "severe" tradition doesn't specify it. Being religious seems to intuitively lead to a lack of a sense of humour in some people. "Allah Made Me Funny"-Man Azhar Usman pokes at this point enough, I think.

Did anyone notice he spelt Salman Rushdie as Salmon Rushdie? Heh heh. That's funny.

From Chicken Run:

[Nick and Fetcher, two sneaky, cockney rats are telling Rocky, the American cockerel, about a caper they pulled with a farmer]

Nick: We slipped into the farmer's room, all quiet like.
Fetcher: Like a fish.
Nick: Yeah, and we..."Like a fish"? You stupid Norbert.

It's funny if you've seen Chicken Run. If you haven't, you should!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia: At Last!

Well, it's been about a year since my post about the screen adaptation of the Chronicles of Narnia. It's scheduled to be released on the 14th of December, and I'm actually quite excited about it. I'm actually considering going to the theater to watch it.

The books are written in the order of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," "The Horse and His Boy," "Prince Caspian," "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," "The Silver Chair," and the "Last Battle," as well as a prequel to the entire series, "The Magician's Nephew."

Wikipedia has a comprehensive article regarding the series, criticisms directed toward it, and their corresponding defenses.

I'm a little sad I hadn't read the books earlier, when I was young; I'm quite sure that with a much younger imagination, I would have enjoyed the books much more. I'm also very sure, that with a far less developed perception of Christian mythology, the heavy Christian symbolism wouldn't have ruined the experience for me.

The story revolves around a group of children who travel to a magical land via a portal, a wardrobe. They are referred to as the "sons" and "daughters of Adam" by the inhabitants of the land, and have a riveting adventure rescuing it from a permanent winter enforced by the White Witch of the West. One of the boys fall prey to the villain's wiles, but later realizes his mistake, but cannot be freed without a price. Aslan pays the price of the boy's freedom from the White Witch, and gives himself up to die, only to rise again.

The Christian themes were too much for me, and, it seems, I'm not alone. Some people are also saying that they were quite blaring:

"Is the world created by British author C.S. Lewis a rip-roaring piece of fantasy — or a fairy tale suffused with Christian imagery?

The book has long charmed children of any or no religion. The movie is, in many ways, faithful to the book — and faithful to the faithful — without sounding the horn of religious orthodoxy. Johnson says you will find Christian symbolism in the movie only if you found it in the book. That's fair enough, though you will find it if you look closely enough — or are told to."

This article on is an interesting read. In any case, I hope the movie does well, so that they can make the sequel. Apparently, the sequel will go straight to "Prince Caspian," since "The Horse and His Boy" deviates from the central storyline of the children from "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" somewhat.

For the fun of it, here is the link to the "Book-A-Minute" version of the first Chronicles installment. "Book-A-Minute," by the way, is only fun if you've read the books.


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I write essays in my spare time on things that are important to me. The ones that I feel are any good, or make any sense, I put them up here. :)